Monday, January 31, 2011

today we just did shishi. we are nearing the end and it is a monster aliyah. chana kept saying she can't do it. i capped it at an hour. she noticed today that 400 yrs and 4 generations is not the same thing. she asked if a generation is 100 yrs. i said no. then how come the jews will be slaves for 400 yrs but will go back after 4 generations? excellent question. (i know they are only enslaved for 210 yrs, but the pshat is tricky). she asked again how kna'an is a slave if he doesnt' seem to be.

we made it through within the hour. we still have some rashis to do, but we'll break first. and hopefully get back to them.

hashem changed avram's name today. very exciting!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

tonight we did rashi, and then there were only 7 minutes before bedtime so we only did a couple of pesukim. shishi is sooooooo long and there is so much to do tomorrow.

chana did ask if angels w/ wings are real. so i said they are in visions (doing the shita of the rambam, which is simplest). and she said if that is the case, how did hagar see them in the house of avraham? bam! she got me--that rashi doesn't seem to be holding like the shita of rambam. so i said hashem can send a navi as a malach (as per one of the suggestions of the ramban on the 3 men)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

we did get to sheni tonight and chana blitzed through it! and chana says: im not rushing thru it!!! <--chana wrote that last bit :-)
today was a bit screamy. i take some responsibility for that, since jack was napping and i wanted to do it during that time. any time i'm feeling time crunched, i am not quite relaxed and chana, who had just meandered downstairs from a night's sleep likes a half hour to kick around. with effort, i made some nice small talk before saying "brush your teeth and eat something let's gogogo!!!" but truly it needs better effort than that. chana's brain was just not in gear. we started with rashi, and she didn't remember words that she usually does.

we started perek 16 the first few pesukim just spot checking words. then we reviewed, and chana remembered all the odd phrases from yesterday of seeing what she had already seen at the house of avraham. nice. and then she was not too happy doing new pesukim. but they were pretty easy. we compromised and did 2 fewer than i wanted to (i wanted to do almost til the end of the aliya, but we'll catch those on friday).

last nt she reviewed rishon with ari and it turns out she had forgotten a lot of it. so if my goal were that she would "know" fluently the pshat, we are not quite achieving that. otoh, i do think that the chazara is good because she does process the story better seeing it over and over. and i do think more vocab sinks in than the way we were originally doing it. so i'll stick with this.

i notice that nearly every day i label the post "emotions and learning." it is really astounding what a huge connection there is between feelings and intellect.

i hope to get to sheni tonight, but since chana is for once not reading this over my shoulder :-) i can say that if we don't get to it, it's not the biggest deal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

started w/ rashi, and as usual, devolved by the end of chumash. partly coz jack woke up and we got rushed.

chana had a number of good questions today. first in rashi, we wondered (well, i did mostly, not her) why hashem needed TWO messengers for himself in the bris ben habesarim.

then chana felt that with so many pronouns, the pesukim should say who ran away from whom. then she noticed (as she has noticed before) that the pesukim say that the malach hashem says to hagar each pasuk. and we are already in the middle of the conversation and we already KNOW the malach hashem is talking, so why mention it so many times?? further, why mention it here so much and be ambiguous in other places? good observations.

then we had some trouble understanding the phrases regarding yishmael. his hand in all? the hand of all in him? a wild man? (chana kept asking: you mean like elazar?" in the face of all his brothers he will dwell? we used rashi's interpretations, though living in the face of his brothers meaning having a lot of children was not so intuitive. vs me poking my hand at her and her poking her hand back at me. we did that back and forth for a bit.

then the idea that she gave hashem a new name was a new idea to us. she named him "Gd who saw me." i don't think chana grasped the significance of that. she started feeling very upset that hashem is so mean to sarai. and only gave him one son. and i said "wait til you find out that hashem asks avram to kill him." well that got her really upset and she ranted about that for a bit. i then told her that he didn't kill him after all--surprise ending. she said, he stuck the knife in and he didn't die? i said no, he stopped him before he stuck the knife in. then she began to imagine the ensuing conversation between sara and avraham about it. and i said that the torah doesn't talk about it (i left out the rashi that she dies...)

another tough phrase for us was didn't i see here after i saw? so i peeked at rashi--that i had seen malachim in avraham's house, but i didn't think i'd see them here, too. don't think chana grasps that significance either.

Friday, January 21, 2011

starting w/ rashi worked pretty well yesterday, so we did it again today. alas, elazar just learned to use the mouse and that was ever-so-exciting for chana. she kept getting distracted by what was on the computer. sometimes i feel like if i had a kid w/ adhd, how would that poor kid be able to concentrate on work when there are often so many distractions around. i felt bad because i was getting a little short w/ chana, when i probably should have been more understanding.

then we started, instead of from the beginning of shishi, we started from perek 16. (she reviewed the beginning of shishi w/ her dad last night and it went well). she did those pesukim, and then i decided the next few new ones were not too hard, so we would do a few. (chana says "they were hard."). i said we were going to do a bunch. she said, how many? i said, how many do you think is a bunch? luckily she said 7 because i only wanted to do 5 new ones (the 6th one has some tough vocab in it). so we did them. it was a lot of new pesukim, but not terrible.

then, for chazara, instead of doing rishon, i gave chana the choice of going over the new pesukim again (plus a couple of the old parts from the beginning of the perek). chana opted for that. but at this point she was pretty burnt out, so it was kind of screamy.

i wonder if i should stop before it gets screamy. but it seems to me she is still benefitting from the review even if she screams through it, and as much as she screams from pain, she isn't actually refusing to do it. so i am considering it as though she is screaming through a painful activity (such as exercise), not because she doesn't want to do it--because she does, but because it hurts. she used to do the same thing when she played super mario cart. scream in frustration, but not stop playing.

so we saw today that pharoah's hopes for hagar panned out. she was being spoken to by a messenger of hashem. chana said that she doesn't like hagar very much, and hagar is getting everything, and sarai is not getting anything. (it seems that the fact that the messenger of hashem told her to suffer in sara's hands didn't make an impact on her).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

so today we started with rashi so chana would be fresh. that went well for the first rashi, and we got into a whole conversation about whether or not hagar's life worked out for her as pharoah had hoped. by the second rashi kind of a lot was going on in the house, and it was an effort for chana to concentrate. but no yelling.

then we decided to do an abridged bit today. we started shishi from the new perek (hopefully we will get to the bris ben habesarim stuff after parkour). so it was only 6 pesukim. 1.5 of them were new.

chana pushed me to tell her about hagar and i ended up telling her that sara kicked her out and now she was a bit confused because hagar just ran away. it's hard to keep straight that hagar ran away now and was kicked out LATER.

chana just asked how come hagar came back? oh we shall see, chana, we shall see.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

we did chamishi and we are in the middle of shishi. chana has been having trouble focusing and concentrating these past few days, preferring to chatter in the middle. maybe if i had only her around and all the time in the world, i would go with that. by the end she gets pretty burnt out.

we took a break before rashi now.

chana was so sad that sarai has no children, that i broke and told her she will have a child. then she was asking why sarai ended up treating hagar harshly, so we read some more and she saw that hagar got pregnant. she asked why that would make hagar think lightly of sarai, so i read her the rashi. she didn't really get why hagar would think that, though. and then i had her read a piece of the next pasuk, where sarai tells avram she is angry at him. chana cannot understand why sarai would be angry at avram for this.

it's a lot to take in--the thread of the story and the translation of the pesukim.

i'm kind of dreading rashi. chana pretty much remembers what the rashi as a whole means, but if she translates the words as she reads she doesn't read it in hebrew, and she has to read in hebrew for pronunciation. i often feel like we do it so many times and there is very little mastery. (i think i mention this a lot).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

so sarah asked as i was typing this how many pesukim did chana do today? chana did 28 pesukim today. 27 review and 1 new one.

chana asked again WHY would hashem send the jews to be slaves. why didn't avram tell his kids not to go out of the land. i said hashem told yaakov to go.

then she got sad that sarai didn't have children. then she asked if people today still can't have children. then she wondered if she would be able to have children.

rashis got a bit hairy at the end when elazar woke up and cried and cried will chana please be quiet. and chana had to control herself (not always successfully) from yelling that she WAS being quiet. at least jack stayed asleep :-)

when your timetable is not your child's timetable

jack is napping. elazar drowsed in front of the tv (he woke up at a ridiculous hour this morning) and he's napping. i finally sat down to do chumash with chana, who had been resisting all morning. (after a big blowout about math last night, neither of us was eager to get back into what might be the ring). today's chazara was revi'i, which is chana's least favorite aliya because of its length. discussing how it would go was a bit of negotiation. i suggested a time cap (1/2 hr) and she suggested 15 minutes. i again said 1/2 an hr, and she said how about up to a specific point. i said half an hour, and she said ok. we made it through pretty happily.

then chana said her brain stopped working and she needs a break. which is fine. we still have shishi to get through, a new pasuk, and 3 rashis. i encourage her to take a break because then she doesn't get maxed out and things are much more pleasant.

BUT. now is such a perfect time! it is so peaceful. the little ones are sleeping. we can have focused, quiet chumash time.

but it's not a good time for her. if we push, it doesn't go well. so here's to hoping we have unfocused, loud and chaotic chumash time later.

Monday, January 17, 2011

chana did shlishi and what we are up to in shishi today. we did another rashi. chana was impressed that hagar was the daughter of pharoah.

Friday, January 14, 2011

chana did ask the question today: how come avram didn't cut the birds?

we posited maybe because they are very small. (i know they are symbolic, but we didn't discuss that yet).

we went through the old pesukim and the new. then i wanted to finish the perek, which was just 3 more pesukim detailing the names of the nations that avram would inherit. chana was hungry by that point and didn't want to do it. i insisted. she screamed. it was a question of do i insist on her doing the pesukim or do i insist on her moderating her tone. (i didn't think she was capable of both). she screamed through the pesukim and through rashi. then she ate. i hope we get to some more chazara today. but after a looooong break.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

more bris ben habesarim

today i pulled out those little papers again, because we did the pasuk about the smoking oven and the torch of fire passing between the parts. we lined up all the pieces (opposite their friends ;) and then made the fire and smoke cross through. then we read that last bit of rashi.

then chana said: so if it were another person, instead of hashem, then both people would pass through the pieces?


i said that these were representatives of hashem.

she did not ask 1. why fire represents hashem. 2. why hashem used 2 representatives. perhaps she will ask upon review.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

and we're back

the pictures didn't come back quite as unrecognizable as i thought so i'll try to upload them. we headed back into bris ben habesarim territory. chana remembers the idea of the pesukim, not all the words. she still has trouble understanding how "his friend" is the other half of the dead animal. we realized we don't know how he cut them in half--lengthwise or across. she said lengthwise makes more sense that it's "his friend."

chana keeps saying that hashem promised avram's children the land--so how can they be strangers in a land that isn't theirs? i hope she puts it together when we get to the pesukim soon about how he will bring them back to israel after the slavery.

chana also does not understand WHY hashem is making us slaves for 400 yrs. good question!

if you look closely, you can see my line drawings of the 3 baby cows, the 3 goats, and the 3 rams, and the bird and the baby bird.

and this is after we cut them in half and set them up.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

olam haba

today we started with the rashi. she remembered and translated most of it. then we did shishi. chana finally asked why he split all the animals but not the birds.

we had a little confusion about the terror dark and great falling on avram. ie that terror is a noun, not an adjective.

we got into a little discussion about the afterlife when it said that avram will go to his fathers. chana: he has only one father! me: his ancestors. chana: he's going to his ancestors? but they are dead! me: it means he'll die.
then chana asked me what hell means. and i said it's the place where christians think people go after they die. and she asked what they think it is like. and i said fire and pain. and she said, but after death there is nothing. so then i said well what if a part of you that's not your body stays alive. which part? the part that can think about hashem. so then she thought you need to be thinking about hashem WHEN you die. and i said, no, just the part of you that is able to think about hashem. (then i had this image of chana thinking about a dead body, like a coma, with an active mind, which is a little freaky for a 9 yr old or even a 40 yr old). so i said it's not the part of you that has feelings like happy and sad. just the part that can think.
we'll probably need to have some more discussions about that.

then she did shlishi.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

don music i'll NEVER get it NEVER NEVER NEVER

so chana and i haggled a bit over what to review today. she wanted rishon or sheni. since she knows them pretty well, i insisted on any of shlishi - chamishi. she chose chamishi (the easiest and shortest). she did well with it (especially as it's recent). then by the time we were nearing the end, she was getting short-tempered. and we still had the pesukim in shishi to do.

we took a break and i had an inspiration. i showed her youtube videos of don music.

he says "i'm NEVER doing to do it NEVER NEVER NEVER" and he bangs his head as he flops down on the piano. chana quite enjoyed it and we watched a few of them.

shishi was pretty screamy, though chana masterfully tried to contain herself. she remembered all of the phrases (so i'm happy to report that the paper visuals worked beautifully). i thought translating it would be tricky, but she did pretty well. she wanted me to read it and translate it first. but when it came down to it she remembered quite a lot of it.

i was hoping she'd ask questions like why is hashem telling avram to do different details. her main questions have been why hashem would put avram in a deep sleep. how can he drive off the birds. and why oh why does hashem want to enslave the jews in a land not theirs?

then we did rashi. i started a new rashi, inspired by my own post this morning. chana was not happy about that. i said we were having a break so i could go upstairs and nurse jack, but chana did not want one and followed me up with the chumash. i isolated 3 major phrases explaining about the parts and how it follows the way they made covenants in those days. i read and translated all of it for her. i left the 3rd part, about the fire and smoke being hashem's representatives, for after we do those pesukim (that will be in about 5 pesukim).

building rashi skills

so i'm getting a little stalled out on rashi. the ones we are doing now are not so exciting, and chana does not seem to be remembering the nekudos or the word-by-word translations no matter how many times we do it. (though i seem to remember that it often feels this way, and then poof! it clicks one day. or it doesn't and she doesn't learn that vocab). yesterday the word "re'ei'hu" came up and she had no recollection. do i want to hock her by reviewing the tower of bavel story again? maybe yes because she doesn't remember it. maybe no because review will just annoy her and will it actually integrate the vocab? she probably remembers a solid 50% of the new words.. and the rest just didn't sink in. but i digress. back to rashi. yesterday we finally got to it at about 8:30pm. i decided to do a rather large rashi from bereshis, to see if she remembered it. she remembered the translation outside, and got quite animated as she recalled it. and she was able to read correctly and translate about half.

so i'm feeling a little lost as to what my goals are for rashi. i would like her to be able to read and translate rashi. but how to achieve that goal? i thought it would be by selecting a rashi, showing her how to read it and helping her translate, and then reviewing it until she learned it. do enough of those and the patterns will begin emerging. either there is more to it, or i'm not picking good rashis, or who knows what. maybe i'm doing it right and it just needs more time. she's only in 4th grade, and the goal is to have a decent ability by the end of 8th grade. so i guess we just keep plugging away.

when chana is finished eating we'll head back into bris ben habisarim. then chana's spending a week w/ her grandparents, so no chumash.

sarah is making noises about being home next year. she wants to be unschooled in chumash. and i want to kick up her skills a notch. she saw how large chana's rashi was yesterday, and commented that i let her get away with not doing very much. (yes, she was as resistant as chana often proves to be ;) plus i was wary about pressuring the oldest child too much). so it will be interesting, if she does choose to be home, to see if we can ramp up her rashi/ramban skills. her translation skills are pretty decent. i'd like them to be excellent, but we'll see.

Monday, January 3, 2011

bris ben habesarim

so chana keeps having trouble with the pasuk where avram says "bameh eida"

with what will i know.

she keeps translating the "with" as "in" (it's a beis) and for some reason the "i will know" doesn't come naturally to her. so we went through that a few times.

(oh, first we reviewed 2nd half of chamishi just words she needed to review).

then i drew 3 baby cows, 3 goats, 3 rams, and chana drew a bird and a baby bird. and i drew some birds of prey and a fire and a pillar of smoke. (i took pictures but 1. they are line drawings and 2. they didn't come out in the pics).

the lashon of the pesukim was pretty complicated and chana was getting frustrated (for example: "and he put a man's part to greet his friend" is an idiom for "he put each piece opposite its other half"). i explained to her that that is why i drew her all the pictures--because the pesukim are difficult.

she liked the part about the bird of prey and avram driving them off. we acted that out with the papers. then she wanted to know why hashem would put avram in a deep sleep, and why he is so scared. (and she noted that in a deep sleep, avram would no longer be able to drive away the birds). i said to her to read the next pasuk to find out what the nevua is that caused those feelings. (though i'm not sure if the feeling was a separate part of nevua from the information in the next pasuk). she was quite curious, but feeling finished so we'll read it tomorrow.

we didn't get to rashi today. but i want to run to the library. maybe when i get back i can chap some rashi.